Month: October 2011

Revitalised Blues score key victory

NEWTOWN & Chilwell sent a message to the rest of GCA 1 on Saturday with a commanding 45-run victory over rivals St Joseph’s.

The revitalised Blues have now made it two victories from as many starts.

That is as many wins as they secured in the whole of 2010-11 and they may just dare to think of possible finals berth in 2011-12 rather than the relegation threat that has haunted them in recent times.

Both sides wore black armbands during the game in memory of St Josephs stalwart Russ Zampatti who passed away during the week and the match was preceded by a minute’s silence and an address by Barry McFarlane.

How that may have affected the visitors is hard to assess, but many of their most experienced players were below their best during the afternoon.

For Newtown and Chilwell Ben Neville had another superb game. The Blues captain top scored in the match with 59, then cleaned up the Joeys middle and lower order, taking 4/34 with his off spin.

“Ben is a key figure in the whole set-up at Newtown & Chilwell,” Blues coach Bryan Thomas said.

“Week in week out he puts in so much and is a great on-field leader. He is Newtown through and through.

Two years ago he had to do everything, even toasting the sandwiches after the game.

“Now though, he can just concentrate on the cricket and he is doing a brilliant job.”

Neville added 113 with young opener, Corey Mathieson (48) for the second wicket to give the home side the platform it needed to reach a competitive 5/195 from 50 overs.

Then Joeys target was slightly reduced when three overs were lost due to a heavy passing shower later in the afternoon.

Damien Foster (45) and Troy Nolan (34) had taken St Josephs to 1/86 before the interruption, but after the

break Matt Kennedy (3/22) and Jamie Harrison (1/23) bowled the decisive spells of the match. Joeys lost 4/13 to slip to 5/99 and were unable to get back in to the contest.

“They both bowled good lines and were sharp,” Thomas said. “Those two or three quick wickets certainly turned the game. Matt Kennedy, who has a slightly bigger and older body than some of our other guys, in particular looks very promising for us. He could very well be an x-factor player.”

From that point on, the Joeys struggled, to eventually be bowled out for 150 from 39 overs. It was a result neither side really expected.

“We still have a very young side,” Thomas said. “And with that line-up I would have thought St Josephs would finish top three.

“But it’s the second game of the year and once we nearly got 200 on a big ground like Stinton Oval I thought we were a good chance.”